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Despite controversy, TikTok remains popular with youth


Social media app draws national security concerns

[/media-credit] Millions of teenagers browse TikTok every day. TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, allows users to upload and watch short music videos.

TikTok is used to make short music, lip-sync, dance, comedy, and talent videos recording up to one minute long. The app lets users share videos with friends and other people worldwide.

Originally called, the app was renamed TikTok to represent the shortness of the videos. TikTok was created in September 2016, and then merged with the app, a social media platform created in China.

Over the last four years more than 800 million people downloaded the app. Around 50% of the audience is under the age of 34 and 40% is aged between 18 and 24. Statistics also show 90% of users open this app per day.

India accounts for more downloads than all other countries. India leads with 190.6 million downloads, followed by the U.S. with 41 million, Turkey with 23.2 million, Russia with 19.9 million, and Pakistan with 19.5 million downloads.

President Donald Trump and government officials raised concerns about sensitive information leaks and privacy breaches by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. On August 6, Trump signed an executive order preventing TikTok from conducting business in the United States.

The Transportation Security Administration and the US Army banned the app on their employee’s phones to keep private information safe. After realizing all of the threats ready to take place Trump had to find out how to execute the situation.

[/media-credit] TikTok users record everything from the newest dance moves to lip sync trends for their published account.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a committee able to block, review and whenever necessary compel divestment of foreign acquisitions of U.S. business. Having CFIUS ready, Trump decided to go through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

“Specifically, the spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” -Donald Trump.

According to Business Insider, the app is currently owned by ByteDance, but a US company such as Oracle or Walmart must gain control over the app to avoid President Trump’s ban. The deadline for this sale to occur was previously set at Nov. 12, but a Pennsylvania court case postponed the ban.

Student’s point of view on TikTok

Students from Fresno Christian have their own point of view on TikTok. Some argue it is not needed or takes too much time out of people’s day, while others say that TikTok is fun and keeps them busy.

Morning news show, Good Morning America reports TikTok as a cure for the 2020 blues and celebrates the most popular of this year, Dec. 2.

Ellie Baker, ’23, reveals that she deleted the app and does not plan to download it again. She talks about the app taking too much time out of her day.

“One minute I’m scrolling through my for you page and the next thing you know it’s been 2 hours later,” Baker said.

Rylee Schwab, ’21, shared her thoughts on TikTok. Having the app since the beginning of the year, she recognizes its positive and negative influences in her life.

“It allowed me to get out there and post videos about myself,” Schwab said, “but it also has made me think differently about myself because social media is such a big comparison factor right now for younger people.”

Maiya Esqueda interviews Rylee Schwab in the following podcast.

The Feather Online conducted a poll about TikTok and other social media apps with 153 total responses. TikTok was the second most used app at 62% usage among students, while Instagram took first place at 80%. Among Tik-Tok users, 42% of high schoolers only watch videos, 15% make their own, and 10%  truly hope to become famous one day.

Although the app is fun and entertaining there are many concerns that go with it as well. The current Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” shines a spotlight on the lure of social media apps with addictive patterns of time and psychology effects on teenagers. Feather journalist Jewel Chandler dives into the documentary and speaks with parents about their concerns in last months article: The Social Dilemma uncovers media impact.

For more articles, read World War II veteran Norris Jernigan relives historic event

Maiya Esqueda can be reached via email.

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  • F

    Frank ZhangFeb 5, 2021 at 8:07 am

    Great article, good to learn something new for me

  • M

    Mason PetrieFeb 4, 2021 at 10:44 am

    I like how this article gives general awareness to how the app developed, what it is, and what people thin about it. It was also very interesting to read about the different amount of followers in all of these different countries.

  • J

    Jewel ChandlerDec 4, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Great article Maiya! Interesting to hear about the history of the app and how it became so popular.